10 predictions for 2011

It’s New Year’s Eve – in case you hadn’t noticed – and as the midnight chimes of Big Ben fast approach and I wave goodbye to both sobriety and 2010, here are ten serious and not-so-serious predictions for some of the major news and entertainment stories I expect the next twelve months to bring us.

1. Twitter users will be familiar with the ‘fail whale’, which appears whenever the service is overloaded or suffers some other serious problem. Its first appearance in 2011 will occur on the stroke of midnight tonight Pacific Standard Time (0800 GMT), as the whole of the West Coast attempts to post “Happy New Year” updates at exactly the same time.

2. Apple will launch the iPad 2 and the iPhone 5 amid a fanfare of publicity, which will be followed by a hail of criticism over the products’ perceived or actual shortcomings. It will make absolutely no difference, as consumers snap them up in their millions.

3. Every idiotic untruth – and their number will be legion – uttered by the moose-hunting Republican Party politician Sarah Palin will only endear her further to the very large minority of people who believe it is a good idea for someone as ignorant as they are to be a credible contender for the highest political office in the most powerful nation on the planet in the 2012 presidential election.

4. January will see record labels rushing to promote their new acts as the ‘next big thing’. By December (if not earlier) we will have forgotten who 90% of them are.

5. Wealthy Tory MPs and peers will remind us of the need to make sacrifices as a nation in difficult economic times, while finding new and imaginative ways to claim expenses.

6. Katie Price will divorce Alex Reid, get back together again, possibly re-marry, and then split up again. And all the mundane details will be brought to us via yet another reality show on ITV2.

7. We will be ‘treated’ to a long succession of TV and Hollywood remakes of old series or films. Each will be trumpeted as a fresh new take on an old classic. They will all be rubbish. (Also, Big Brother will return to UK screens in some shape or form, but not on Channel 4.)

8. After a lucrative, record-breaking tour, Take That will split up again. The Samaritans will receive a record number of calls from distraught women and girls. Two weeks later, Boyzone will announce they are reforming. So that’s alright, then.

9. The Daily Mail will run a series of ‘in-depth’ features proclaiming why Facebook is the greatest evil mankind has ever faced, and how it is solely responsible for paedophilia, bullying, anti-social behaviour and the fragmentation of the nuclear family, as if these had never existed prior to social networking.

10. At some point between Christmas and New Year next year, I will come up with another pointless Top 10 list as a substitute for actually writing anything meaningful …

And finally, a Happy New Year to everyone!